Before we launch into anonymous blogging councillors, supermarkets and wind-farms we need some help.
Your Residents Association is run by a small team of volunteers who give up one evening a month to attend a meeting plus such other time as they volunteer to devote to special activities, such as monitoring developments at the hospital or representing all of us at meetings with Council Officers.
We need to recruit up to three more members of our team. If you would like to contribute to running our community and to make a real difference to what happens in Christchurch, do please get in touch by replying to this Newsletter. A business background or some knowledge of Local Government or in one instance knowledge of book-keeping would be advantageous.
Selling the Family Silver
During the month we discovered that CBC Officers, under the direct instruction of Council Leader Councillor Ray Nottage, are investigating the possibility of selling the existing office block to raise capital. The idea is to move the “one-stop-shop” facility that deals with you and I to a site near the town centre whilst moving the “back office” to a cheaper site on say the airport or perhaps (whisper it) even Furzehill at Wimborne?
The proposed move has caused some concerns. Is the idea feasible? What about the money recently spent linking Bridge Street to Furzehill – is that wasted? Is this the next step to Christchurch losing its identity, some are asking. Posting under the name “doomdodger”, Cllr Ray Nottage commented on the Daily Echo’s website about the potential sale of the Civic Offices but failed to identify himself as a councillor let alone the leader of the council (despite being questioned about his identity by another contributor). When questioned by the poster about whether he was a senior member of the council, “doomdodger” arrogantly said: “Sorry I have not got time to deal with your ranting”.
We would have thought that as leader of the council, Cllr Nottage would not want to hide behind anonymous comments. We would have thought he would have been proud to post comments about the council’s work in his own name. He should in our view also be open to full and frank consultation and we will be talking to other Residents Associations about that.
CBC Councillor’s Allowances
Christchurch made the national press by granting an 8.1% rise to councillors on their allowances. We investigated this and discovered that the rise both related to more than one year and was a figure based on a very low starting point (hence making the percentage seem rather large)
We concluded that the press had misrepresented the situation
The Contentious Supermarkets
Last month we told you about an organisation called The Dorset Development Partnership, something of a shadowy, behind the scenes influence. We wrote to DCC Councillor Spencer Flower and asked him to throw some light on the scene. So far he has acknowledged our letter but not responded in detail. Watch this space!
The Morrison’s developers have opened a drop-in shop in Bridge Street, next to Christchurch Powr Tools to show off and explain their proposals. The shop is open Monday, Friday and Saturday until late October from 10.00am to 4.00pm
The re-run of the planning meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 23rd October at 3.00pm in the Council Offices.
The Navitus Bay Wind Farm
We have created a new section of our website devoted to this development. There you can see a mock-up of what the farm will look like plus a link to the organisation we have joined called Challenge Navitus Bay. Go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on Environment and then Navitus Bay. We are pleased to say that the Hengistbury Head Residents Association has also become involved and they are organising a conference at which we, through ACRA, will be involved.
The cost of generating power via wind farms is estimated at £126 to £146 per megawatt hour before allowing for Government (which means taxpayer) subsidy. That compares with £74 for nuclear.
Based upon input received from you, we have written to CBC about the various problems caused by local trees (like breaking up the pavement and the road surface). You can read the letter at www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on Environment then Domestic trees then CBC Policy on Tree Maintenance -our thanks to local resident Richard Miller for helping us so energetically.
Our October Public Meeting
A first reminder that our next public meeting is at The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive at 7.30pm on Thursday 25th October. There will be two speakers. Sue Bungey will talk about the hospital and Trelawney Dampney, MD of Eco Composting at Hurn, will talk about waste disposal in Dorset.
Hall on the Hill AGM
Their 11th AGM will be held on 7.30 Monday 24th Sept.
Also look out for The Buddies who will be performing at 7.00 Saturday 29th Sept. The Hall on the Hill has a website at www.hallonthehill.org.uk